Jack’s feet on ground despite head for heights

SOUTHEND ON SEA, GBR - 28 January 2012: Jack Laugher (City of Leeds) competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Final of the 2012 British Gas National Cup Diving Championships at Southend Swimming and Diving Centre. (Photo by David Crawford / www.stillsport.com)
SOUTHEND ON SEA, GBR - 28 January 2012: Jack Laugher (City of Leeds) competes in the Men's 3m Springboard Final of the 2012 British Gas National Cup Diving Championships at Southend Swimming and Diving Centre. (Photo by David Crawford / www.stillsport.com)
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Ripon’s Olympic hope Jack Laugher dives into action Monday week, the current British 3m springboard champion hoping to make his mark at his first ever Games.

The 17-year-old is one of the youngest on the diving team, but Laugher, the 2010 World Junior champion has experience on the big stage, competing at 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Now firmly ensconced at the Olympic Village with a host of famous names, it’s a world away from his A-Level career at Ripon Grammar School but Laugher is taking it all in his stride according to headmaster Martin Pearman.

“He’s already a bit of celebrity at school,” said Mr Pearman.

“He’s a super student, extremely popular with his peers and at school he can be himself. Divers peak at around 22 to 23 so he’ll definitely have another Olympics in him, maybe two. He’s young to be competing but he’s fully prepared for it. He knows the competition wil be tough but as long as he can come back saying he’s given it his best he’ll be happy. We’re very proud.”

It’s the stuff of dreams but City of Leeds diver Laugher is combining schoolwork and diving in style.

“His feet are firmly on the ground. He gets the bus to training so there’s no airs and graces,” said Mr Pearman.

“As far as school work’s concerned we’re happy to support him and manage his workload accordingly. Jack has to commit to weeks away from school, so his mentor here emails him his work and he’ll email it back from wherever he may be in the world.

“After the Games I imagine he’ll just slot straight back, but I suspect the Olympics will be just one step along the way in a very successful career.”

Laugher’s big moment is one for Ripon too, as schoolfriends, family, governors all have tickets to go and watch.